CIS mission head praises referendum in Azerbaijan (PHOTO) (UPDATE 2)

Politics Materials 26 September 2016 13:51 (UTC +04:00)

Details added (first version posted at 09:47)

Baku, Azerbaijan, Sept. 26

By Maksim Tsurkov – Trend:

Everything has been at the highest level for decades in Azerbaijan in terms of organizational bases of holding both referendums and elections, deputy chairman of Council of Federation of the Russian Federal Assembly, head of the observer mission of the CIS Interparliamentary Assembly, Ilyas Umakhanov said Sept. 26.

“The people who represent different international organizations also acknowledge this,” Umakhanov said. “This is a universally recognized fact.”

“Substantive questions submitted for the referendum predetermine the future, as well as the democratic development of Azerbaijan, strengthening the democratic foundations of the Azerbaijani society,” Umakhanov added. “It is very important that the expression of will and desire by people to take part in the referendum is absolutely free.”

“It is understood that the referendum means not only a support to the amendments to be made to the Constitution of Azerbaijan, but it is also a vote of confidence in the present leadership of the country,” he noted. “We see it this way.”

Referendum is the highest form of expression of will, Umakhanov said.

“I am sure Azerbaijani people will vote for progress, dignity and independence of Azerbaijan in holding political, economic and democratic reforms,” he added.

“We are pleased with the very high turnout. Those who organized this referendum should be happy with its results,” he added. “We saw that even before the polling stations opened masses of people gathered there.”

“Lowering the age of being elected is a decisive step on the way of involving young people in active political life,” Umakhanov said. “There are very few countries in the world that has taken this step.”

He noted that Azerbaijan is the first country in the post-Soviet area to do this.

“I think both the Russian Parliament and the CIS Interparliamentary Assembly, which are currently represented by us, will consider this step,” Umakhanov noted. “I would also like to convey greetings and wishes of prosperity from chairperson of CIS Interparliamentary Assembly Council, speaker of the Federation Council of the Russian Federal Assembly Valentina Matvienko.”

“We very much rely on a special nature of relations between Russia and Azerbaijan, particularly the confidential nature of relations between the leaders of our countries, Vladimir Putin and Ilham Aliyev,” said Umakhanov.

The referendum to make amendments to Azerbaijan’s constitution kicked off at 08:00 and will wrap up at 19:00 (UTC/GMT +4).

The number of voters in Azerbaijan stands at 5,267,111 people.

As many as 117 international observers – MPs from around 35 countries as well as observers from various international organizations, including the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) – have been accredited by Azerbaijan’s Central Election Commission (CEC) to observe the referendum.

The total number of the observers is around 53,000.

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev signed an order to hold a referendum on amending the Constitution on Sept. 26.


Follow the author on Twitter: @MaksimTsurkov